LeBron James
LeBron James

LeBron James responds to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, saying he'll never 'stick to sports'

Updated Feb. 27, 2021 7:03 p.m. ET

All-time great basketball player, global icon, business mogul.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James has been known as all of these things throughout his career.

But perhaps most importantly, he has been an activist for social justice and change.

This hasn't always been widely accepted, and the latest person to take issue with James' work is AC Milan star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

"I don't do politics. If I would be a political politician, I would do politics," Ibrahimovic said. "That is the first mistake people do when they become famous and they become in a certain status. Stay out of it. Just do what you do best because it doesn't look good."

James is indeed one of the greatest to ever play in the NBA -- perhaps even the greatest. But his activism and political stances have become some of the biggest stories in sports over the course of his career.

One of the most notable was when he opened the I PROMISE School in 2018, with the goal of helping at-risk youth in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.


Two years later, during the summer of 2020, with social injustice and police brutality at the forefront of the conversation across America, James launched "More Than A Vote" campaign to help combat voter suppression of minorities across the country.

With this track record of activism and philanthropy, it came as no surprise that James quickly responded to Ibrahimovic's comments after the Lakers' 102-93 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.

"I would never shut up about things that are wrong," James said. "I preach about my people, and I preach about equality, social injustice, racism, systematic voter suppression, things that go on in our community. I know what’s going on still because I have a group of 300-plus kids at my school that's going through the same thing, and they need a voice, and I’m their voice."

"There's no way I would ever just stick to sports," James continued, "because I know how powerful this platform and my voice is."

James also pointed out the hypocrisy of Ibrahimovic's comments, as the soccer star is an outspoken athlete himself.

"He was the same guy who said when he was back in Sweden ... because his last name wasn't a certain last name, that he felt there was some racism going on when he was out on the pitch," James said. "I speak from a very educated mind, so I'm kind of the wrong guy to actually go at because I do my homework."

Indeed, Ibrahimovic once gave an interview in which he spoke of "undercover racism" in Sweden, saying, "This exists, I am 100% sure, because I am not Andersson or Svensson. If I would be that, trust me, they would defend me even if I would rob a bank."

Throughout his 18-year career, James has been one of the most vocal athletes.

It doesn't appear he will change anytime soon. Or shut up. Not when he has so much to say.


LeBron James
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